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Excel Users: Easy to Use Web Service for Accessing SEC EDGAR Information

There is a new web service available which allows access to SEC XBRL financial filings without any knowledge of XBRL.  The web service, offered by XBRL Cloud, has a 30 day free trial so you can see what it does and is priced at $9.95 per month.

I have been using this web service during it's alpha and beta phase.  I have put together some sample code for accountants and analysts who might want to make use of this web service to pull information into Excel. (You will need to sign up for the free trial to use these samples.)

  • General sample code: This is numerous general examples of navigating the web service to grab information and put that information into an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Taxonomy comparison tool: This is a very basic Excel taxonomy comparison tool.

I have some other samples in Microsoft Access that I will eventually make available.  Here is a screen shot of the taxonomy comparison tool:

Taxonomy comparison tool screenshot

The web site has some very interesting characteristics which may not be evident just by looking at it.  Here is a summary of the things that I find particularly useful:

  1. Metadata: There is lots and lots of metadata which provides easy ways to organize information. For example, the following information is available for entities: CIK, Entity Registrant Name, SIC Code, SIC Description, Industry Sector, Ticker Symbol, IRS Tax ID, Subindustry, Entity Type, Is Entity a Trust, Is Entity Developing Stage, Is Entity Going Concern, Entity Filer Category.
  2. Links: Links, links, everywhere.  You have links to the actual SEC filing page for every filing, links to the XBRL Cloud Viewer, etc.
  3. Components: All the filings are available by component of the filing.  You don't have to use the entire filing, just the piece you need.
  4. Disclosures identified: This is a particularly useful piece of metadata.  All of the primary financial statement components (i.e. BalanceSheet, IncomeStatement, CashFlowStatement) are identified for you.  Many of the disclosure components are likewise identified.  Not all, but this is a very, very good start.
  5. Various information views with drill down by component: For every component you can view the rendering, the SEC viewer view, the model structure, and the fact table.  You can imbed HTML versions of the renderings into your application.  Every HTML form allows you to "drill down" into the report elements and/or fact tables which make up the component.
  6. Component perspective: You can query information by component.  For example, "Give me all the balance sheets" or "Give me all the long-term debt maturities disclosures".  You REALLY need to check this out.  This is a game changer in terms of working with financial reports.
  7. XML: All this is in XML so you can read what you need and have the flexibility to do what you want.  Basically, you can build your own interface.

There is a lot more, those are only the highlights. You can experience all this stuff for yourself by trying the free 30 day trial and playing with the sample applications.  Excel users will be thrilled.

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 06:24AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in , | CommentsPost a Comment

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